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How to catch the first supermoon of 2020 this weekend

Published Feb 8th, 2020 2:07PM EST
super snow moon
Image: NASA

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If you’re a skywatching enthusiast, you had plenty to enjoy in 2019 and are probably eager to see what 2020 has in store. It took over a month, but we’re finally about to feast our eyes on the first supermoon of the year, and it’s coming in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Set your alarms, because this is an early one.

As NASA has teased, the full Moon will be at its peak on Sunday morning, February 9th, at the bright-and-early time of 2:33 a.m. EST. As with most full Moons, this one has many names, with the most prominent being the Snow Moon.

A “supermoon” occurs when a full Moon is particularly close to Earth. This makes the Moon appear slightly larger in the sky, though whether or not you’d actually be able to notice this change is size is a subject of much debate. It’s best to just enjoy the full Moon and not worry about all the silly labels.

Speaking of silly labels, this Moon has many, many names. NASA offers a rundown:

The Moon will appear full for about three days centered around this time, from Friday evening to Monday morning, making this a full Moon weekend. This full Moon is traditionally called the Snow Moon, Storm Moon, Hunger Moon, Magha Purnima, Magha Puja, the Mahamuni Pagoda Festival Moon, the Chinese Lantern Festival Moon, and the Full Moon of Tu B’Shevat.

So, if you want a chance to glimpse the “Super Snow Moon,” you’ll need to get up bright and early on Sunday morning and gaze skyward. Now, this all assumes that the weather is on your side, and we all know that such a thing is never guaranteed.

If you don’t manage to catch this weekend’s full Moon — whether it’s due to weather or you just like to sleep in — you won’t have to wait long for the next one. The full Moon that will rise on March 9th will also be a supermoon, so you’ll have another opportunity to enjoy the lunar majesty in a few weeks.

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